Selling business to business is impossible unless your offering addresses what really matters to the decision makers.

There are 12 sales hooks that provide a reason for a decision maker to want to buy something from you. So to make sure the deal moves forward, be sure that you have tied your sales message to one or more of the following issues.

1. Finances: Workers must perform, making earnings bigger or costs smaller.

2. Operations: Managers must use every resource (human and otherwise) strategically.

3. Suppliers: Executives must strengthen a firm's role in its industry's supply chain.

4. Business partners: Companies must balance alliances and rivalries.

5. Customers: Retailers and wholesalers worry about how customers will perceive their decisions.

6. Competitors: Executives worry about other companies stealing business.

7. Globalization: Companies must adapt to far-flung risks and opportunities.

8. Regulation: Your prospective customer must comply with laws, protections, and limitations.

9. Internal politics: Savvy managers must resolve organizational differences and turf wars.

10. Career: Workers of all levels are always positioning for their next job assignment.

11. Hiring: Managers need to get talented people on board and productive.

12. Retention: Executives don't want their top people to leave.

Note: Numbers 1 through 8 are from a conversation with Dr. Stephen Bistritz and Nicholas Read, authors of the bestseller Selling to the C-Suite. Numbers 9 through 12 are based on my own observations.

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